24, No. 1
NC's Local Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Plans
by Sharon Hirsch, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina
Given the changes that will be coming from the Family First Prevention Services Act, is your agency thinking about how to lead your community toward a focus on prevention?
If so, it may want to consider North Carolina's promising CBCAPP model. With funding from the NC Division of Social Services and the Essentials for Childhood initiative through the NC Division of Public Health and other unrestricted sources, Prevent Child Abuse NC (PCANC) is able to provide technical assistance, training, and support to create local CBCAPPs. With this funding, PCANC helps communities and local agencies improve system alignment, introduce and evaluate new child maltreatment prevention programming, and build community capacity to support prevention programs and services across the faith, nonprofit, and public sectors.
The CBCAPP Model
The CBCAPP model, which is built on the Protective Factors Framework outlined in the box below, seeks to educate, empower, and support communities on effective prevention strategies so every child grows up in a safe, stable, nurturing environment. In support of this goal, the CBCAPP process engages community partners and parents to assess community needs and create an action plan to implement evidence-based programs, policies, and strategies.
Once a community's action plan is created, a local team is formed to implement it and measure progress. CBCAPP measures of success are identified through the lens of the Pathways to Grade Level Reading initiative and child welfare outcomes measured by the local county DSS agency.
Cumberland County's CBCAPP
In 2016, PCANC partnered with Cumberland County to develop the first CBCAPP with financial support from the Essentials for Childhood project and the Division of Social Services provided funding for PCANC's technical assistance and training. This plan was created by the SOAR Committee (SOAR = Strengths in Overcoming Adversity thru Resiliency), a cross-sector group of over 40 organizations and individuals that meets monthly to develop strategies to prevent child maltreatment by enhancing Protective Factors. Using a collective impact approach, the group develops strategies to increase knowledge of the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), with a focus on child maltreatment prevention. The first phase of Cumberland's plan was unanimously approved by the county's Board of Commissioners in 2017.
Due in large part to SOAR's work, Cumberland County was named the lead county for Triple P implementation in their new Triple P multi-county region. Triple P is one of the most effective evidence-based parenting programs in the world. This expansion, which was made possible through partnerships with the NC Divisions of Public Health and Social Services, will bring this program to Cumberland County in the next phase of the state's expansion of Triple P. (Although evidence-based parenting programs such as Nurturing Parenting existed in Cumberland before the implementation of Triple P, they were not universal and did not go as far upstream as the community wanted.)
Army Community Services at Ft. Bragg has also been a key partner. They brought the facilitator training for the "Be Strong Families Parent Cafe" model to Cumberland in 2018, training over 20 people to host parent cafes. Cumberland's Parent Engagement Committee has hosted a number of cafes to date, with many more planned through the end of June 2019. Feedback on the cafes is overwhelmingly positive: people return month after month to connect with fellow parents in a safe and supportive environment to discuss their victories and challenges as parents.
At Ft. Bragg, all parents of children under age three are eligible to receive home visiting services through the Army's New Parent Support Program. However, the wider community does not have access to a universal home visiting program. Because SOAR identified this as a need, Family Connects International is currently assessing Cumberland County's readiness and sustainability for implementing their universal home visiting model throughout Cumberland County.
Grounded in data, Cumberland's CBCAPP is a living document that changes as needs and opportunities present themselves. SOAR is currently evaluating the next steps to bring awareness of child maltreatment prevention strategies to the next level.
Expanding to Other Counties
With funding from the NC Division of Social Services, PCANC will support up to four counties in SFY 2018-19 to create local CBCAPPs. Selected counties will be expected to:
The Protective Factors training helps participants envision a shift in the way they work with families and provides a guidepost for the types of supports a community wants to build to assure children are in safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments so that they grow to become healthy and thriving adults. The training is appropriate for child welfare professionals, community partners, and families.
Interested in Creating a CBCAPP?
Once a county interested in creating a CBCAPP contacts PCANC, PCANC begins a readiness assessment. There is no formal application process; the communities most ready and able will move forward first. (If a county has additional funding, it may be possible for PCANC to work with more than four communities.)
The CBCAPPs ultimately created by participating counties will include:
Completed plans will be approved by local Boards of County Commissioners and indicators of success will be reported annually to the community in April during Child Abuse Prevention Month for accountability and ongoing commitment to prevention across the government, nonprofit, faith, and business sectors. All plans will be based on the model and theory of change developed by Cumberland County.
PCANC will provide training on the Protective Factors Framework and technical assistance using implementation science. The technical assistance may include support for accessing and using data, identifying local financing options for evidence-based family strengthening programs, or guidance on strategies to engage the community. PCANC will help CBCAPP communities fill the gaps, align resources, and build capacity to sustain evidence-based family strengthening programs to build Protective Factors, reduce child maltreatment, and reduce the number of children entering foster care.
You can learn more about the CBCAPP process at PCANC's Connections Matter Summit, which will be held March 5-6, 2019 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh, or by contacting Melea Rose-Waters at email@example.com.